Kelly, Jason (2010) Blogging in the Junior Cycle Science Classroom. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
PDF (Master of Science)
A major challenge in science education is to align the teaching methodology with the aptitudes and experiences of the students. Teenagers are used to learning in front of a computer screen even if at times they are unaware that learning is taking place. They jump from one topic to another by following links to related material rather than traditional book learning where the student starts at the beginning and finishes at the end. According to Prensky (2001), they learn in parallel rather than sequentially and are 'native speakers' of the digital language of computers. As teachers, we need to embrace new learning methodologies to meet the ever-widening gap between how we were taught and how students now learn. In this paper I analyse the effect of introducing a classroom blog to a group of 13 to 15 year old boys. I look at how participation in this blog affects the way in which students participate in science, how they perform in science examinations and whether or not this has an effect on their enjoyment of science. Participants in the study demonstrate increased levels of attentiveness and participation in class compared with a control group. They also display an increased tendency to study science outside of class time. I present statistical evidence that the process of blogging is of significant benefit to students who may have struggled considerably with science concepts in the past. I look at some of the effects on classroom dynamics and show that there are a number of factors that influence the level and quality of student participation in a blog, not least of which is the exposure their work receives compared with class work they have done in the past.
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